Bringing Scholarship Back to Middle East Studies

Oct. 27 2016

The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East contains 25 essays by the historian Martin Kramer on a variety of topics. Jonathan Marks notes that underlying these pieces, some of which were first published in Mosaic, is Kramer’s commitment to pursuing the truth through rigorous scholarship, even when he himself admits he is far from dispassionate about the subject matter. In one essay, Kramer dismantles an unfounded claim made repeatedly by the Columbia historian and Edward Said protégé Rashid Khalidi—and, in doing so, makes the contrast between himself and so many in his field especially stark:

In 2010, Khalidi spread in more than one lecture the claim that the influential novel Exodus, though written by Leon Uris, was “carefully crafted propaganda” guided by “seasoned professionals.” Foremost among them was Edward Gottlieb, regarded by some as “one of the founders of the modern public-relations industry.” . . . There is only one problem: not one thing Khalidi says, in his role as distinguished historian, appears to be true. . . . [T]he story is a fabrication, one anti-Israel authors are so desperate to believe that they rely on an ancient public-relations how-to [manual] without checking the story. . . .

[In other words, Khalidi] showed himself [to be] “someone eager to repeat and embellish a story simply because of its political utility, without even a cursory check of its historical veracity.”

Khalidi’s canard is an example of, in Kramer’s words, “fantasies of Jewish power and control” finding their way into respectable realms of academia.

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Read more at Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

More about: Academia, Edward Said, History & Ideas, Leon Uris, Martin Kramer, Middle East, Rashid Khalidi

The Palestinian Authority Deliberately Provoked Sunday’s Jerusalem Riots

Aug. 16 2019

On Sunday, Tisha b’Av—the traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the two Jerusalem Temples—coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. While the Israeli government had initially banned Jews from the Temple Mount on that day, it later reversed its decision and allowed a few dozen to visit. Muslim worshippers greeted them by throwing chairs and stones, and police had to quell the riot by force. Just yesterday, an Israeli policeman was stabbed nearby. Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus place the blame for Sunday’s violence squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority:

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Read more at Palestinian Media Watch

More about: Palestinian Authority, Temple Mount, Tisha b'Av